April 4, 2011 - Scouting Odyssey

Scouting Odyssey Ten years ago this week, the Mars 2001 Odyssey orbiter began its six-month journey to Mars. Odyssey then spent several months grazing the Martian atmosphere (a fuel-saving process known as aerobraking) to circularize its path into a two-hour mapping orbit. Mars Odyssey examines the composition of the planet’s surface, looks for water and shallow buried ice, and studies the radiation environment of Mars. Odyssey completed its primary mission in 2004 but continues to uncover surprises (like caves on Mars) and support other Mars missions. Mission planners are relying on imagery from Odyssey to help choose a possible 2012 landing site for Curiosity, the roving Mars Science Laboratory. One possible location is Holden Crater, seen in this false-color Odyssey image.

Image credit: NASA / JPL / ASU

Weekly Calendar

April 4-10, 2011

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 4

1930: American Rocket Society founded
1968: Apollo 6 launched
1983: STS-6 Challenger launched
1997: STS-83 Columbia launched
2000: First commercial mission to Mir
2011: Soyuz TMA-21 launched carrying ISS Expedition 27/28 crew

Moon phase Tuesday 5

1973: Pioneer 11 launched
1975: Soyuz 18-1, first in-flight abort
1990: Pegsat launched
1991: STS-37 Atlantis launched
2010: STS-131 Discovery launched

Wednesday 6

Jupiter in conjunction with Sun

1965: Early Bird (Intelsat 1) launched
1984: STS-41C Challenger launched

Thursday 7

1991: Compton Gamma Ray Observatory deployed
2001: Mars Odyssey Orbiter launched
2007: ISS Expedition 15 crew launched

Friday 8

1964: Gemini I launched
1966: OAO-1 launched
1993: STS-56 Discovery launched
2002: STS-110 Atlantis launched
2008: ISS Expedition 17 crew launched

Saturday 9

Pluto appears stationary
Mercury in inferior conjunction

1959: NASA selects original seven Mercury astronauts
1994: STS-59 Endeavour launched

Sunday 10

1919: John C. Houbolt born

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.